Last week I called up one of my junior leaders in front of the class, and asked him to take his forward stance.
As the others knelt down in seiza I told my young sempai that I was about to kick his butt.
An anxious look washed across his face like a wiper on a muddy windshield.
For a moment he must have been wondering what he’d done wrong, and what I was up to…
“Ok pal, you ready? I’m about to kick your butt… literally!”
“Ugh… ok”, he replied.
“Don’t worry buddy, you’ll get to kick my butt too!”
What he didn’t know was that we were about to demonstrate a fun little exercise to help students develop their front leg ura mawashi geri (hook kick).
I skipped up and performed the kick at hip height bringing my front leg to the outside line of his body and then whipped it around and slapped him on the butt with the sole of my foot, recoiled the kick and returned to forward stance.
“Ok, your turn!”
Mario did the same to me.
The class erupted in laughter seeing sensei getting his butt kicked by a 14 year old.
We went back an forth a few times immediately as each of us completed their kick, ensuring the footwork and technical execution of the technique was correct.
Now of course aiming this kick, ura mawashi geri, at someone’s backside is about as effective as a gun with filled with blanks. It makes a nice loud noise, but is completely ineffective. But it does allow students to to learn how to handle the gun, point and squeeze the trigger.
In other words it helps students:
- Get the footwork, distance and line of attack correct.
- Develop muscle memory for the kicking part of the technique without losing balance, as opposed to reaching for head level when a lack of flexibility is the problem.
- Develop control of the technique without the worry of knocking someone out.
- Literally kick someone’s ass, which is fun.
Your students will enjoy this exercise and more importantly start to develop the kick with good form. Once good form is created, then strive for height.
For your advanced students who can already do the kick, have them give each other “high five hook kicks” where they skip up and slap the soles of each other’s feet.